By @BginKC

You know you’ve done something right when, in response to a blog post on Sunday morning, the first thing one of the subjects of said post does on Monday morning is lawyer up:

The rodeo announcer at the center of a controversy at the Missouri State Fair Saturday night has obtained legal counsel and is denying involvement.

Mark Ficken, Boonville School Superintendent, was elected president of the Missouri Cowboy Rodeo Association Saturday morning. That night he was the announcer during a rodeo in which a clown wore a mask of President Barack Obama.

In a release sent to KMOX News Monday morning, St. Louis attorney Albert Watkins says Ficken wants to “set the story straight.”

“News networks and media outlets have picked up the story which erroneously attributed disrespectful commentary to Ficken who was serving in his twentieth year as the announcer of the bull riding competition at the fair,” Watkins says.

I would venture a guess that he is not so concerned with protecting his “good name” as he is with protecting his day job as Superintendent of the Booneville school system, but let’s unpack this a little bit anyway.

Does he think the video is ambiguous? He can clearly be heard over the PA asking if the crowd would like to see Obama run down by a bull.  He asked it several times, louder each time, whipping the audience into a frenzy, and causing the interracial couple who broke the story on this blog to feel genuine fear. Perry Beam, a country musician from Higginsville who snapped the photo and wrote the initial Facebook post that got reposted here and then went viral, said he “felt like he was at a Klan rally.”

Do the clowns (I’m including the announcer here) involved in this disgraceful and embarrassing incident go home to the 1950s at night, or do they live in 2013 with the rest of us? Do they not realize that everybody and their dog is walking around with a camera that shoots better video than my first video camera did? I would seriously like an answer to that question. Are they out-of-time, or just stupid?

While members of the state GOP, including the state’s highest-ranking GOP elected official, Lt. Governor Peter Kinder have condemned the embarrassing display and the Board of Directors of the fair have issued an apology there are dead-enders on comment threads insisting it’s really no different than that French mockumentary about a fictional assassination of George W. Bush (that no one saw) or, more recently, the Game of Thrones episode that had a replica of George Bush’s head on a pike. And this, according to the Peanut Gallery, makes the despicable, disrespectful, and yes, racist display Saturday night a-okay.

As my friend and colleague at Washington Monthly, Ed Kilgore, put it when he linked our original story this morning, is how the “So’s Your Old Man” game is played.

I’m not so diplomatic…I just call bullshit.

Because one of these things is not like the others.

For me, as a Missouri taxpayer, that is where it begins and ends. I pay taxes in this state, and I resent the hell out of the fact that one penny of my hard-earned money went to the state fair, which received $400,000 in taxpayer funding this year.  

By contrast, neither of the instances the Wingnut Chorus has been citing got taxpayer funding, and neither were billed as “wholesome, family entertainment,” like the State Fair rodeo is.

So, in the spirit of bringing in the lawyers…Case closed.

Update I: I came up with a better title, and added a ‘graph about the stupidity of showing your ass in public when everyone is walking around with a camera that shoots video too on their phones. — BG

Update II: The actual clown has been “banned forever” from the Missouri State Fair Rodeo.  I’m hoping before the end of the day I can post a third update that reports harsh sanctions against the announcer. — BG